Data Chips + Balls = Harder Field Goals

The NFL kicks of the 2016 preseason with footballs outfitted with custom data chips to get intel on field goal performance.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is about to leave its mark on the NFL, with the 2016 preseason kicking off with with new footballs outfitted with custom data chips.

A report in the Toronto Sun says the NFL will leverage the chips to help determine whether it’s time to change up (read narrow) the goal posts in an effort to make field goals more difficult. Apparently, punting the ball meters down the field through the narrow posts is not hard enough any more. Over the past several seasons, placekickers have become uber accurate, hitting their target 85 percent of the time.

The plan is to use the instrumented balls during preseason to collect a bunch of data that will help shed light on field goal success, including whether or not the league should shorten the distance between the uprights or make any other kind of modifications. The IoT-enabled footballs will hit the starting line throughout preseason and possibly make an appearance in Thursday night regular season games.

No word yet on whether the so-called smart footballs will ever be used to measure PSI, so forget about relief on the whole Deflategate debacle.

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